macbook pro turns on but screen stays black — my solution

Last Updated on July 16, 2018 by Colin

The Apple Macbook Pro would turn on, but the screen would not.  The screen would stay black.  I could tell the computer was on because when I hit the “caps lock” key, the green light on the key would turn on and off.

I fixed this the following way (this is basically resetting the Power Management Unit — PMU):

I disconnected the computer from the power cord, and from all other cables.

I held down the power button for several seconds to turn off the computer.

I let it sit 5 minutes.

I restarted the laptop while holding down the Shift key.  This restarted the computer in Safe Mode, with the screen visible again.

After I logged in (in Safe Mode) to make sure everything was ok, I simply restarted the computer the normal way, and the screen behaved normally again.


If that doesn’t work for you, you could try these steps, documented at

Holding down Command, Option, P, and R to reset your PRAM and NVRAM

Resetting PowerBook and iBook Power Management Unit (PMU)


  1. it hasn’t worked for me but im not sure if its because i have a different macbook pro then the one that has been working for everyone else, does this method work on all macs or on a specific type?

  2. This thread may be outdated, THANK YOU!!

    I dropped my macbook pro 13′ 2015 and although the hardware would turn on, the display would not. This was the case after countless reboots & reboots with option + command + P + R pressed down.

    Restarting the computer while holding the SHIFT key down (safe mode) made the display activate.

  3. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Not sure if this matters, but I tried the shift button on the left, it didn’t work. Tried again with the shift button on the right…it worked!! Thank you, Thank you!!

  4. Command option PR worked for me too! I had to keep holding it while the laptop tried to reboot several times then finially the screen came on and i knew things were looking up.

  5. THANK YOU …. THANK YOU …. We’re not geeks but you solution worked amazing …. we are of the aged group of people that know nothing about computers BUT YOU N I DID IT TOGETHER …. once again …. thank you …. x

  6. THANKYOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! Terima kasih banyak! mine worked with the first method! it worked miraculously. God bless you!!

  7. I was also facing the issue with My macbook Air. But i came to know that its because of the memory related issues that i had in my mac. I was not having enough space to save new files and all. Also running several software programs for my work. That lead this problem. Later i ve moved all the data to another SSD and removed few software programs. It’s working fine now.

  8. 2008 MacBook Pro starts up with the windows start up logo (my dumb ass nephew tried to be his own engineer, wiped out the original apple OS X and installed a clean windows lol), and seconds later the screen goes black. But it works normal when connected to an external monitor/tv. The reset steps didn’t work, but again it’s on windows, who knows whether those resetting steps apply to windows too or limited to OS X. But haven’t tried the safe mode. I’ll try that later. We tried to restore the original OS X, it started a bit to select the drive to set it up, then went on to black screen again. I didn’t even know you could wipe out original OS X and install windows without OS X installed or without bootcamp assistance. However he managed to do that I have no clue, but I was pest when he did that. I guess he found it too splendid a free MacBook Pro from uncle. I was going to send him my second MacBook Pro 2011, but I thought twice and changed my mind. They don’t appreciate anyways. He’s lucky Tim Cook doesn’t know that my nephew betrayed apple for Microsoft. Any help/advise appropriated. Thanks.

  9. Apple will replace your motherboard for free, I have done so for the same problem for a 4 year old laptop. Don’t waste your time with temporary solutions.

  10. I tried everything, all of the above and then some. I happened to find someone saying “just enter your password on the black screen”. Wow! It worked. I’m on a MacBook Pro 2015 running OS Sierra.

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